NEW YORK - New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared the state's monkeypox outbreak a "State Emergency Disaster" on Friday.
Hochul has issued an Executive Order that will enable the state to respond more swiftly to the outbreak and allow healthcare professionals to take additional steps to get more New Yorkers vaccinated.
"After reviewing the latest data on the monkeypox outbreak in New York State, I am declaring a State Disaster Emergency to strengthen our aggressive ongoing efforts to confront this outbreak," Governor Hochul said in a statement. "More than one in four monkeypox cases in this country are in New York State, and we need to utilize every tool in our arsenal as we respond."
Earlier this week, the New York State Health Department declared the outbreak to be an imminent threat to public health.
So far, more than 4,600 cases of monkeypox have been found across the nation, with New York City as its epicenter with over 1,000 cases.
A lack of vaccines has left many people frustrated and in response, the Biden administration announced that the United States will be receiving nearly 800,000 doses of the vaccine.
However, while rich countries are buying large quantities of monkeypox vaccine, they are also declining to share doses with Africa, which could leave millions of people unprotected against a more dangerous version of the disease and risk continued spillovers of the virus into humans, according to public health officials
"The mistakes we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic are already being repeated," said Dr. Boghuma Kabisen Titanji, an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University.
To date, there have been more than 22,000 monkeypox cases reported in nearly 80 countries since May, with about 75 suspected deaths in Africa, mostly in Nigeria and Congo. On Friday, Brazil and Spain reported deaths linked to monkeypox, the first reported outside Africa. Spain reported a second monkeypox death Saturday.
"The African countries dealing with monkeypox outbreaks for decades have been relegated to a footnote in conversations about the global response," Titanji said.
With the Associated Press.